There’s something beautiful brewing at Nivol Brewing Company in Panama City Beach, Florida, and it’s not just the beer.
For owners Leo and Selma Hill finding beauty in their day-to-day life is important. They make a conscious effort to practice positivity, from their business ventures to their interactions with strangers, friends and their children.
“We’re all about just lovin’ life,” Selma says. “That’s really what Nivol stands for — lovin’ life and sharing love with other people.”
Lovin’ is what you find when you spell Nivol backwards.
Nivol Brewing Company opened its doors in November 2016. The 10,000-square foot brewery and taproom is located at 483 Richard Jackson Boulevard and is a hub of activity, from brewery tours and people playing table tennis to cornhole tournaments and a constant rotation of awesome brews.
Looking back, Selma says her and her husband fell in love with craft beer while traveling and wanted to bring a craft brewery to Panama City Beach. Their endeavor proved to be a challenge, as they spent 364 days waiting for the official license and go-ahead from the federal government. During the same time, they also experienced two deaths in their immediate family.
“It was the most exciting time of our lives, but it was also the most stressful time,” she says. “This is probably the hardest thing we’ve ever done.”
“When our attorney called to tell us we were good to go, I really just fell to my knees,” she added. “It was overwhelming.”
But with the difficulty behind them, it’s full steam ahead. The taproom at Nivol offers up 20 handles, with 16-18 of those being in-house brews. Their core lineup of beers includes the 98 Roadside Blonde, the SCUBA IPA, and the Donkey D Amber Ale.
But head brewer Mike Delf, along with brewer Shua Boggs, has plenty of creative combinations on display. All told, the team at Nivol has more than three decades of brewing experience. On a weekly basis, Delf and Boggs are brewing about 1,000 gallons, which they say is a comfortable place for them to be right now.
“Some of the things we’ve experimented with will be released as limited editions in the future,” Delf says. Nivol regularly offers up new brews as part of its “New Beer Friday” program.
They use Delf’s old 25-gallon pilot system to brew a variety of small batch beers. Taps range from the Vanilla Viper Porter (made with fresh vanilla bean and vanilla wafer cookies) and the Cinnamon Peach Amber to the Raspberry Cream Ale, Irish Stout Nitro, and the Blueberry Blonde.
When it comes to the beers at Nivol, Selma is big on serving what she calls “approachable” beers. Given that most people who come to her taproom may not be familiar with craft beer, she wants to start them off slowly, which is where the 98 Roadside Blonde comes in. It’s a familiar color and taste to beers people are used to drinking.
“You definitely don’t want to start them out with your IPA,” she says. Start familiar, or approachable, and then branch out from there.
Currently, Nivol’s beers (on draft) can be found up and down the Panhandle, from Panama City Beach to Santa Rosa Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, and Niceville. The brewery has plenty of space to grow, which will include a canning line in the future, as well as producing about 5,000 barrels of beer annually. For now though, Selma says they are partnering with Destin Brewery in Destin, Florida to can their blonde ale. The idea for canning takes into account the close proximity to the beach, but also the eco-friendly component.
With the brewery and taproom in place and pushing out plenty of great brews, does Selma feel as though she is successful in her latest endeavor?
“No,” she says. “I always tell people that success is not measured by how much money you have or how many people are in our taproom, but by chasing success. I am always chasing the person I want to be in the next three to five years, then I’ll continue to grow from there.”
So if you haven’t been to Nivol yet, do yourself a favor and check it out. They allow guests to bring in their own food, which is cool, especially if you plan to hangout and drink beer for a while. Whether you choose to grab something from Firefly, the neighboring restaurant, or order a pizza, have at it.
“We absolutely love what we do here,” Selma says. “We love to create.”
For more information about Nivol Brewing Company, visit http://www.nivolbrewery.com or call 850-249-1150.